Few isle bases judged
likely to close
U.S. Rep. Ed Case agrees with defense analysts who say that threats posed by China and North Korea could help Hawaii escape the next round of realignment and closure of military bases.
Case said yesterday that he has not received any advance briefings by the Base Realignment and Closure Commission. However, he believes that in the next decade, "the posture of our defense will be oriented to Asia and the Pacific rather than Euro-centric.
"That would highlight Hawaii's role in the nation's defense posture," he said. "That also would mean that the West Coast and Hawaii would (be) less likely to be affected by BRAC because of the long-range problems in Asia."
The independent commission is set to release its recommendations tomorrow on which of the military's 425 domestic bases will be closed or realigned.
Other Hawaii congressional and business leaders point to other signs that indicate the islands might escape the latest rounds of cuts.
These include the expansion of the Army at Schofield Barracks during the next decade with the formation of the $1.5 billion Stryker Brigade Combat Team, and the stationing of the first eight C-17 cargo jets outside the mainland at Hickam Air Force Base.
This week, the Army also began a $1.6 billion housing redevelopment project -- the largest in the country, with nearly 5,000 units on seven Army installations and a projected inventory of 7,894 new homes. Similar private-venture housing projects have been undertaken by the Navy and the Air Force.
U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye, a ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said, "The state's role is even more important now that a Stryker Brigade will be based in Hawaii, which could also be home to an aircraft carrier group."
There also is the recent Air Force announcement that it will be activating the headquarters of the 13th Air Force at Hickam and will transfer 72 uniformed personnel and five civilians from Guam.
Earlier this week, commission Chairman Anthony Principi and Patrick O'Brien, director of the Pentagon's Defense Office of Economic Adjustment, briefed governors and their staff on how the process will work.
Although Gov. Linda Lingle was not included, a spokesman for the National Governors Association in Washington, D.C. -- which sponsored the briefing on Tuesday -- said Maj. Gen. Bob Lee, who heads the state Department of Defense, should have received the same information from his contacts in the Pentagon.
No lists or military installations or bases in any specific state were discussed, the spokesman said.
Pointing to the recent report by the Overseas Basing Commission, Case said the Pentagon wants to consolidate its bases away from Europe to the mainland. That same commission this week also endorsed moving one the Navy's 12 aircraft carriers to the Pacific, possibly Pearl Harbor, but warned of the high cost of living in Hawaii.
Case believes only two of Hawaii's 37 major bases could be affected: Fort Shafter, with 591 acres, and the Lualualei Naval Magazine, 12,028 acres.
Case said his opinions are based on the military's past desire to consolidate some of its operations in the islands. He said that at Lualualei much of the land is devoted to ammunition storage bunkers that are now vacant, and the Navy could consolidate its Lualualei operations at Pearl Harbor.
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Hawaii military bases
Air Force: 21
Marine Corps: 1
Acres used: 245,485
Areas owned: 156,404
Buildings owned: 14,564
Military assigned: 54,036
Civilian workers: 13,774
At least 10 acres
» Aliamanu Reservation, 535 acres
» Dillingham Military Reservation, 664 acres
» Fort DeRussy, 73 acres
» Fort Ruger, 337 acres
» Fort Shafter, 591 acres
» Helemano Radar Receiving Station, 290 acres
» Kahuku Training Area, 9,773 acres
» Kalaeloa, 153 acres
» Kilauea Military Reservation, 68 acres
» Kipapa Ammunition Storage Site, 401 acres
» Pohakuloa Training Area, 108,792 acres
» Pupukea Paala Military Road, 109 acres
» Schofield Barracks, 16,676 acres
» Signal Cable Trunking System, 201 acres
» Tripler Army Medical Center, 367 acres
» Keaukaha Military reservation, 509 acres
» Waiawa Gulch, 22 acres
» Field Station Kunia, 95 acres
» Waianae, 14 acres
» Waikakaalua Ammunition Storage Tunnels, 314 acres
» Wheeler Army Air Field, 1,370 acres
» 24 each under 10 acres, 34,541 acres
Total: 175,894 acres
At least 10 acres
» Barbers Point, 1,376 acres
» Pearl Harbor Naval Station, 950 acres
» Fleet Industrial Supply Center (Pearl Harbor), 687 acres
» Naval Magazine at Lualualei, 12,028 acres
» Naval Station Pearl Harbor, 6,250 acres
» Naval Computer & Telecommunications Area Master Station, 2,435 acres
» Pacific Missile Range Facility, 3,680 acres
» Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard, 290 acres
» Public Works Center, 2,181 acres
» Nine installations each under 10 acres, 12 acres
Total: 30,016 acres
At least 10 acres
» Barking Sands Communication Station, 14 acres
» Bellows Air Force Station, 487 acres
» Hickam Air Force Base, 2,523 acres
» Hickam Petroleum Products Storage Annex, 151 acres
» Kaena Point Satellite Tracking Station, 153 acres
» Kokee Air Force Station, 11 acres
» 15 sites each under 10 acres, 633 acres
Total: 3,972 acres
At least 10 acres
» Marine Corps Base Hawaii, 35,603 acres
Source: Department of Defense